Alongside a host of new models appearing at the Frankfurt Motor Show and making its world premiere is Volkswagen’s latest design study, the Golf GTI.
Having celebrated its 25th anniversary in the UK last year, the Golf GTI not only sits at the heart of a complete class of vehicles – the hot hatchback sector – but is synonymous with the Volkswagen name itself.
The concept suggests what the GTI version of the fifth generation Golf, which makes its world debut at the show, may look like when it is launched later next year. Though the design is modern and dynamic, it is instantly recognisable as a Golf GTI thanks to styling themes inspired by the original 1976 model. These include a black grille with red outline; distinctive ‘GTI’ logos; black sills and bumper skirts; and a prominent roof spoiler.
In addition, the GTI prototype features twin exhaust pipes; 18" alloy wheels; red brake callipers; and a striking arrow form that plunges from the bonnet, around the honeycomb grille and down into the deep front air dam. Inside, extensive use of aluminium in the pedals, trim, floor and steering wheel join sports seats and chrome-ringed instruments to create a bold, sporty ambience.
A 2.0-litre turbocharged, direct-injection FSI engine, producing 200 PS, provides the level of performance expected of a GTI, which is transferred to the road via Volkswagen’s innovative DSG direct-shift gearbox. The already dynamic suspension, which utilises a multi-link design at the rear, is designed to perform outstandingly on this new GTI.
The world debut of the first Golf GTI concept also took place at the Frankfurt Motor Show; this was in 1975 and was followed in June 1976 by the production of a 110 PS model, intended as a limited edition of 5,000 cars. It proved so popular that since this first run of vehicles, over 1.5 million Golf GTIs have been sold to date, spread over four generations and numerous evolutions.Published 20 September 2003